Lorain County Commissioner Tom Williams officially announced his re-election bid Wednesday.
Williams, 38, a Republican, took office in 2011. In a news release, Williams wrote that he has been a “fiscal watchdog” in his first term challenging wasteful spending and cronyism.
Williams said he had challenged county judges to reduce their budgets, helped with the county’s consolidation of 911 dispatching and reduced the cost of the St. Joseph’s Community Center bailout for taxpayers. Williams, of Amherst, said he has sought greater consolidation of services between communities and tried to increase transparency among the commissioners.
Williams, who earns about $77,000 annually, said in an interview that he has raised about $15,000 for re-election and hopes to raise $60,000. Williams is facing Democrat Matt Lundy, a 53-year-old longtime state representative from Elyria who took office in 2007 and whose term expires at the end of 2014.
Lundy is leaving the Legislature due to term limits. Lundy said he has raised about $20,000 and hopes to raise between $50,000 and $75,000.
Williams said he can work better with state Republicans, who control the House of Representatives and State Senate, than Lundy, a frequent critic of Republican Gov. John Kasich and his administration.
“Spending seven years in Columbus I know how Columbus operates,” Lundy said. “I don’t believe he has that experience or knowledge.”
Williams has frequently feuded with fellow Democratic commissioners Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski, but said many registered Democrats countywide have told him they like having a Republican on the board to increase balance. Williams said its realistic to believe he can win in heavily Democratic Lorain County, saying he defeated then-state Rep. Joe Koziura, D-Lorain, in 2010, a former Lorain mayor.
Williams said being one of the few elected Republicans in the county is an asset. “I’ve been able to reach out to Columbus on behalf of the Republican side to in order to get things that benefit Lorain County that my fellow commissioners don’t have the ability to do,” he said.